What are spider veins?

Spider veins are thought to be the result a lesser condition of the same process as varicose veins. Increased vein pressure can cause the little veins, called telangectasias, to form.

Spider veins are cosmetic and may not be a significant health or medical issue. These are small red, purple and/or blue tiny veins found on the surface of the skin. They often are found in combination with slightly larger reticular veins, which tend to be green or blue in color.

Spider veins and reticular veins may or may not be associated with significant venous insufficiency, and therefore, require examination by an experienced practitioner before attempting treatment. If there is significant venous insufficiency present, any treatment for the spider or reticular veins is unlikely to provide lasting results. Cosmetic spider veins are treated with sclerotherapy.


Could my spider veins be a sign of something more serious?

While in many cases spider veins are a cosmetic issue on the surface of the skin, in others they can be a symptom of more severe vein disease which leads to varicose veins. An ultrasound may be performed to determine if the veins are significant. Symptoms often associated with vein disease include pain, heaviness, swelling, throbbing, itching, restless leg syndrome, cramping, burning and fatigue.

In many cases of leg vein disease, abnormalities visible upon the surface of the skin are indicative of a more severe and significant condition below the surface of the skin. Small spider veins at the base of a leg may actually be caused by larger veins higher in the leg that cannot be seen. For this reason, it is extremely important to have an ultrasound to accurately diagnose the severity of your condition.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is an injection treatment used to eliminate small to medium size varicose veins and “Spider Veins”.

Is sclerotherapy more effective than surface lasers for treating spider veins?

Research has shown surface lasers are not as effective as sclerotherapy in spider vein treatment.

How does sclerotherapy work?

A very fine needle is used to inject a solution “sclerosing agent” into the varicose or “spider vein”. Most patients relate the discomfort to an ant bite. Different solutions are used depending on the type of the vein. Once injected, the cells that line the vein wall (endothelium) will become irritated, inflamed and damaged.

External pressure is applied using cotton balls, tape and compression stockings. The compression causes the vein walls to seal together and the vein no longer can transport blood. Your body will then break down and absorb the damaged vein. When healing is complete, the vein is no longer visible.

The process is very similar to how your body heals a bad bruise. “Spider” veins do not have any known useful function and eliminating them will not affect your circulation. Reducing or eliminating varicose veins can improve your circulation and symptoms of heaviness, aching and fatigue.

How many treatments will I need?

Depending on the extent of varicose and spider veins present and your body’s responsiveness to the injections,the number of treatments needed to clear or improve the condition will vary from patient to patient. Although sclerotherapy is safe and highly effective procedure, multiple treatments are usually required to clear or improve problematic veins to a patient’s satisfaction.

Do I need to wear compression hose after sclerotherapy?

Compression stockings are highly recommended after sclerotherapy. The stockings are required after endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) and are important to the success of the treatment. Their purpose is to insure that the treated veins remain closed after treatment and they also assist in the minimization of bruising.

The duration of use will vary from patient to patient. Compression stockings may be purchased from our office. It is required by the insurance the use of the compression stockings before treatment, and for that reason many policies cover the stockings.

What are the most common side effects of sclerotherapy?

It is rare to experience side effects and complications from sclerotherapy. While some discomfort may occur with EVLT, it is carefully monitored and treated with pain medication. Some patients may experience mild bruising.

What is endovenous laser treatment (EVLT)?

EVLT is a quick, minimally invasive laser treatment and does not require hospitalization or complicated surgery. EVLT is an FDA-approved procedure in which a small optic fiber is inserted through a needle into the varicose vein, which heats and closes the vein. The entire procedure takes about one hour and causes minimal discomfort.

Performed under ultrasound guidance, EVLT uses laser energy to treat varicose veins by closing off the vein, preventing it from flowing in the wrong direction down the leg. Your body then naturally uses a multitude of other healthy veins to return blood to the heart.

How do I know if I need Sclerotherapy or endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) to treat my veins?

Sclerotherapy treats the more delicate spider veins that appear close to the skin’s surface. EVLT treats larger source veins beneath the surface of the skin. To properly treat your veins, it is important to not only treat the unsightly surface spider veins, but also the larger veins that actually cause them.

Treating the feeder veins eliminates the source of the problem. This helps to increase patient satisfaction while lessening the chance of recurrence.

Following your consultation and an ultrasound, our team will determine the most effective treatment for you.

Does vein disease affect men, as well as women?

Between forty and forty-five percent of all men develop vein disease, while half of all women develop vein disease. The hormonal conditions, such as pregnancy and menopause, unique to women, often increase the severity of their conditions.

Do I need all of my veins?

The short answer is no. By eliminating malfunctioning veins, your circulation will improve. During treatment, with ultrasound guidance, we safeguard the healthy veins for normal circulation.

Is it okay to postpone treatment?

Varicose vein disease is a progressive disease. If left untreated, it will only get worse and will require more extensive treatment in the future.

Can I just have my smalls veins treated?

As previously stated, unsightly surface spider veins are usually indicative of more significant underlying causes. Treating the feeder veins treats the source of the problem and lessens the chance of recurrence.

Can I go back to work immediately after treatment?

Treatment takes place in the office and requires no hospitalization. Most of your day-to-day activities may be resumed shortly after each session..